Monday, May 14, 2012

Hey Everybody Checkout the New Guy

    Monday morning, students, faculty, and staff gathered in our refectory, place of dining, with a spread of cookies, yesterday's leftover graduation treats, and some fresh brewed coffee.  "Who's gonna be the new president?"  A question many and I have asked for more than a year.  We sat waiting.  My slow clap to get things going was viewed as a sign of impatience and not the excitement I was going for, and while some joined in it ultimately fell short.  Luckily, we didn't wait much longer because one of the board members walked in and after finding the mic explained she was not going to hold out on the news any longer.  And then she said it, James Nieman was the next president of Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  We rose and clapped some of us whooping and hollering as he entered, I believe we would have stood if they told us any name, but I think just hearing the name and knowing the search was over and that a new presidency would soon begin just made me so joyous, I felt tears coming to my eyes.  Little did I know that this would not be the last time.
    Nieman came to the microphone seeming calm and happy but as he said his own title, President of the Lutheran School of Theology, he choked up.  A true human moment that flooded my own heart with promise and hope.  He seemed so real standing in front of me bearing his heart.  He spoke of the next step with so much excitement, the next step for LSTC starting to change his wording from you to us, not claiming to know all the needs of LSTC, but presenting himself as a seasoned veteran of leadership.  I was so excited that at the end of the whole affair that later when I shook his hand I was nervous that I still might start to cry.  So impressed and feeling that my seminary was passed into good hands I was full of joy.  I really have only two sadnesses in this whole affair.  First, that I will be in Austin, TX when Nieman arrives and I will miss experiencing him in his first year and all the excitement that comes with that.  The second came when President Nieman spoke to all that President Hougen is doing and had done for the seminary (Hougen has been the president almost the entire time I have been at LSTC).  We had an amazing leader in Hougen and as once again tears filled my eyes, as a gracious President Hougen made a motion for all to sit down at the anouncement of his name, I realized that we were also losing a great leader in our community.
    What a moment in LSTC history, my own history, and I believe we will soon see if it was for the ELCA, my vote is yes.  President Nieman talked about his discernment process and how his wife read him a prayer from Evening Prayer, I hope I have the right prayer, but even reading this prayer gives me peace about the decisions we make in life, whether it be the new president, which call to accept, where to do CPE, what seminary to go to, or where to go for dinner?  We always have someone with us and President Nieman reminded us all of that Monday morning.
O Lord,
Support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done.
  Then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 comment:

  1. O God, You have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

    This is the right prayer!!!